The Vintage Jewelry Team has great members. An outstanding example of this is our Team Captain, Darlene from Dar’s Jewelry Box. Darlene has had a shop on Etsy since July 2013, joined VJT team in April of 2014 and became a VJT leader in August of 2014. She is very knowledgeable about vintage jewelry, a well-respected businesswoman, and a compassionate person. We were very pleased to interview her for this member profile.
Margie: How and why did you get started collecting Vintage Jewelry?
Darlene: Being in the antique business for a number of years and from the start of it all. Vintage jewelry literally fell into my hands when purchasing entire estates. I found that some of the jewelry I could part with. But many pieces ended up in my own jewelry box. It was then that I came to find out just how much I really liked to wear vintage jewelry. It wasn’t long until I needed many more jewelry boxes!
Margie: What pathways lead you to open Dar’s Jewelry Box?
Darlene: I opened my shop on Etsy to originally offer my Jewelry Art and a few pieces of vintage jewelry. But after a short time, I had much more jewelry in my shop and found that I did not have any spare time to entertain my creative gene. Perhaps again someday.
During all the years. I have been selling vintage. From furniture to postcards, I never really specialized in any one area. But many times wished I could… I felt it would be a perfect time to act upon that and decided to exclusively sell only vintage jewelry in my shop on Etsy. So, I changed my shop name and ‘Dar’s Jewelry Box’ came to be.
Margie: What is your favorite type of jewelry, period of jewelry and/or designer? Why does it inspire you?
Darlene: My favorite type of jewelry varies. Just like my shop has an eclectic mix, so does my own jewelry preference. I am partial to tennis bracelets and wear them often. Bakelite jewelry is one of my favorites. I’m not sure if it is the autumn colors that attracts me or the distinctive sound that it makes when wearing two or more bangles bracelets. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I tend to like the Art Deco era.
Whatever it be, I enjoy wearing my Bakelite jewelry! I also like the mid-century designer jewelry and especially Juliana for the sparkle!
Margie: Which came first: your love for vintage items or the dream of having your own business?
Darlene: I would have to say the love for vintage, which in turn made selling a necessity! As I continued to purchase much more than I could ever use, display or give to someone. Either I would need to start to sell or rent a warehouse! Actually, I am a big advocate of using and enjoying what someone collects. I don’t believe in storing items away to never see the light of day. Following my own advice, it just made sense to jump into the business.
Margie: Have you ever found any surprises after you bought something for your shop?
Darlene: Yes, I have had many, many surprises over the years…..Pictures with old stocks (no value but neat) underneath backing papers. Pottery that turned out to be unsigned Roseville. A beautiful Victorian cameo brooch in the bottom of an old cedar chest. A jewelry box with a hidden compartment having a wartime letter to a sweetheart tucked away and so on. I felt some of the items should be returned to the owner and was glad to do so.
Margie: What is your favorite piece of jewelry in Dar’s Jewelry Box and why?
Darlene: You would think that would be a hard question…but for me, not so much, as I love much of the jewelry in my shop. Just recently I added a Jomaz walrus figurative brooch, I think it is adorable and fun! Another would be the Ciner clown brooch, have to mention also as it is just too cute! Jewelry that makes you smile are winners with me!
Margie: What have you found is your best source for information when you are researching an item?
Darlene: I feel there are so many ways, use them all! Online sites, reference books, and a couple of my favorite sources are to visit shops and shows. Those are the places you have the opportunity to touch and study a piece and ask questions. Along the way, I have learned so much from others … You will find many collectors and dealers to be very knowledgeable. With a genuine willingness to share because of their love for vintage as well.
Margie: What is the best advice you can give to someone else about selling vintage items?
Darlene: My best advice would be to take the time to educate yourself about the items that you are selling. As not only will it help you understand and relate to your buyer which can help make a sale. But also you will learn to truly come to have a greater appreciation for vintage.
Margie: Do you have a hint that you are willing to share with the team about selling on Etsy?
Darlene: I would say there is no one easy answer to what it takes to have a successful business. On Etsy or elsewhere for that matter. Except that someone must be willing to be persistent, accept change and rise above the challenges. To keep pursuing your dream ~ follow your heart’s desire!
Margie: What is the best advice anyone gave you about selling vintage items?
Darlene: To think outside of the box! When it comes to buying items to resell, buy what you like but also consider items that are outside of your comfort zone. I have followed that advice and found it does broaden your horizons. It has opened the door to many opportunities and more often than not, been rewarding.
Margie: It is hard to develop good customer service online. Is there something you do special for your customers and if so, what is it?
Darlene: When it comes to customer service, the advantage a small independent shop owner has is the ability to add a personal touch. I do that by simply sending a thank you note and nice presentation box. Also, be prompt in sending out orders and responding to your customer’s concerns. I want my customers to enjoy their shopping experience from start to finish at Dar’s Jewelry Box. I have found that good customer service goes a long way!
Margie: What hopes and dreams do you have for Dar’s Jewelry Box?
Darlene: I would say I am living my dream and have for a number of years now. Etsy is a part of that story and certainly taking up a few chapters.
Margie: What other things would you like us to know about you and/or Dar’s Jewelry Box?
Darlene:: I like this saying ~ “A smile or kind word could make all the difference in the world to someone…it doesn’t cost you a thing, yet could be worth a million to that person”
Margie: Darlene recently became our leader of the Vintage Jewelry Team. Because of her leadership, I added additional questions about the team. Where will you like to see the Vintage Jewelry Team in a year?
Darlene: The VJT team has recently added new Leaders to the roster that are looking forward to addressing its’ members needs and expectations in the year ahead. It is an exciting time as innovative ideas will be put into motion. Which will be promising, to carry the team into the future! I would like to see the team grow in unity in the name of teamwork. While facing the challenges and embracing the opportunities ahead.
Margie: What do you think, currently, is the best thing about the Vintage Jewelry Team?
Darlene: I have always thought the VJT was special. Today I see that same kind of devotion to rise up to the occasion. As the members continue to work together to maintain a positive, friendly community. While offering help and support. Also to mention, the VJT would like to extend a welcome to other Etsy shop owners that feature vintage jewelry to consider membership on our team. We would love to have you join in!
Thank you, Darlene, for your passion for vintage jewelry, your willingness to help and share, and your positive influence on the Vintage Jewelry Team! We wish you and Dar’s Jewelry Box all the best!